Life hasn’t been kind for Ian Cathro since leaving Newcastle United & Rafa Benitez and joining Hearts on 5 December 2016.
At the time Hearts were in third place on 27 points after 16 matches, two points behind Rangers and 10 adrift of Celtic.
After picking up just 19 points in 22 league matches, Hearts ended the season a disappointing fifth: 60 points behind Celtic, 30 adrift of second placed Aberdeen, trailed Rangers by 21 points, whilst even St Johnstone had a 12 point advantage over Ian Cathro and Hearts.
Not surprisingly, the media in Scotland have cast major doubts over the young manager’s abilities to turn it around at Tynecastle after leaving Newcastle, whilst Hearts fans are also left wondering whether this was the right man for the job.
Despite the poor results, the Hearts Director of Football insists Ian Cathro will come good.
Craig Levein saying that Cathro’s main problem hasn’t been how he sets out his team to play – but rather the culture shock of coming to terms with the way other Scottish clubs play.
Hearts Director of Football, Craig Levein:
“I’ve got high hopes for Ian Cathro.
“This is a tough place to manage, as I know myself.
“The thing about here is the players like him.”
“We’ve had six transfer windows since the club came out of administration (in 2014) and four of them have been really good – the last two haven’t been particularly good.
“In hindsight, should we have given longer-term contracts to some of those players? The answer is probably no.
“The fact we gave them short-term contracts has allowed us to still be in a position to be able to strengthen this summer and repair some of the damage.
“For Ian Cathro to be a real success here we need to give him time and let him understand what this is all about.
“Then we can let him go and play how he wants to play, but we need to fix some other things first.
“His problem early on has been understanding Scottish football, not understanding how he wants to play.
“In this country just now, Celtic are in a class of their own, Rangers play a different style of football to other teams, but the rest play the same.
“If you can’t deal with long balls, second balls, wide crosses, then you can’t impose yourself on the match.
“His early experiences have been about understanding that part of it. Once he deals with that part of it I think it will allow his coaching abilities to come to the fore.”